You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

Cotten, Joseph (Shadow of a Doubt)_01 phone call

His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

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She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

he gets me

Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of intials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

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Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

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When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

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“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

mr darcy

Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

Gilmore girls creep

Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

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Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

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The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!

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Life Finds A Way: Jurassic Park (1993)

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You’re implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will… breed? No, I’m, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ IT IS ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVS!!!!!!!!!!

First of all let me welcome you to my Jurassic Park Marathon!!! Yay! All this week Jurassic Park films! 🙂

So I love this movie, I absolutely do. I love the book too, but the movie was so amazing because of the people they chose to play the characters, they were absolutely perfect! Well it was a Michael Crichton/Steven Spielberg film.

Crichton got the idea for this when he was writing the screenplay WestworldI love that movie too!

I was such a huge dino nut when I was a kid, I absolutely love this movie.

I'm the kid on the left

I’m the kid on the left

So why is this movie so awesome? Let’s get on it.

So John Hammond, CEO of InGen a genetic company has bought an island off of Costa Rica and created a place where Dinosaurs can roam again.  Unfortunately for him, they have had far too many accidents so his lawyer is forcing him to bring in some experts to okay the park.

Unbeknownst to Hammond, one of his employees, Dennis Nedry, is selling him out. InGen’s biggest competitor offered Nedry a ton of money to bring dino embryos.

So back in the U.S., Dr. Alan Grant, paleontologist, and paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Slatter are out on a site digging up bones.

Dr. Grant is played by the very hunky Sam Neil.

jurassic Park

Love this guy!

One of the best scenes in the film is when a kid makes fun of the dino bones and Grant rips him a new one.

Soon after the group is disrupted by a helicopter and have to quickly cover up the bones. This helicopter is Hammond who offers to fund their group for many, many years if they come and visit his park. They are totally down for that and promptly agree.

Along with Dr. Grant & Ellie, the lawyer brings mathematician, Ian Malcolm, who is played by none other than the very attractive Jeff Goldblum.

He's got such a great voice!

He’s got such a great voice!

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So this past January I went to visit my sister who lives near San Diego. When I was flying down there, I was trying to buckle up my seatbelt, but it wouldn’t work. I totally felt like Dr. Grant right there.

So they land on the island and the the group is wondering what this park is all about. The only one who knows what it holds is John Hammond. They are driving onto the compound when Dr. Grant sees it….a dino.

Brachiosaurus

They are given the spiel of what Jurassic Park is all about. At the visitor center they find out, through a very cheesy video, that the cloning of the dinos was accomplished by extracting the DNA of dinosaurs from mosquitoes that had been preserved in amber. The strands of DNA were incomplete, so they took DNA from frogs and used the frog DNA to fill in the gaps. The dinosaurs were all made to be female and created without a specific lysine to be only given through the food supplied by the feeders so that if there was ever an issue they would stop the feeeding and all would die.

Dr. Grant gets out of the appointed seats and takes off to check out the lab and see the baby dinos. Some are hatching at that moment and Dr. Grant sees a baby raptor.

John Hammond: [as they gather around a baby dinosaur hatching from its egg] I've been present for the birth of every little creature on this island. Dr. Ian Malcolm: Surely not the ones that are bred in the wild? Henry Wu: Actually they can't breed in the wild. Population control is one of our security precautions. There's no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park. Dr. Ian Malcolm: How do you know they can't breed? Henry Wu: Well, because all the animals in Jurassic Park are female. We've engineered them that way. [they take the baby dinosaur out of its egg. A robot arm picks up the shell out of Grant's hand and puts it back down] Dr. Ian Malcolm: But again, how do you know they're all female? Does somebody go out into the park and pull up the dinosaurs' skirts? Henry Wu: We control their chromosomes. It's really not that difficult. All vertebrate embryos are inherently female anyway, they just require an extra hormone given at the right developmental stage to make them male. We simply deny them that. Dr. Ian Malcolm: John, the kind of control you're attempting simply is... it's not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is. John Hammond: [sardonically] There it is. Henry Wu: You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will... breed? Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way.

John Hammond: [as they gather around a baby dinosaur hatching from its egg] I’ve been present for the birth of every little creature on this island.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Surely not the ones that are bred in the wild?
Henry Wu: Actually they can’t breed in the wild. Population control is one of our security precautions. There’s no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: How do you know they can’t breed?
Henry Wu: Well, because all the animals in Jurassic Park are female. We’ve engineered them that way.
[they take the baby dinosaur out of its egg. A robot arm picks up the shell out of Grant’s hand and puts it back down]
Dr. Ian Malcolm: But again, how do you know they’re all female? Does somebody go out into the park and pull up the dinosaurs’ skirts?
Henry Wu: We control their chromosomes. It’s really not that difficult. All vertebrate embryos are inherently female anyway, they just require an extra hormone given at the right developmental stage to make them male. We simply deny them that.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: John, the kind of control you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.
John Hammond: [sardonically] There it is.
Henry Wu: You’re implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will… breed?
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I’m, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.

Everyone but the lawyer questions  whether Hammond has really thought about the ramifications

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Gee, the lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me. Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun…the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it…You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should…

Dr. Ellie Sattler: Well, the question is, how can you know anything about an extinct ecosystem? And therefore, how could you ever assume that you can control it? I mean, you have plants in this building that are poisonous, you picked them because they look good, but these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they’re in, and they’ll defend themselves, violently if necessary.

Dr. Alan Grant: Dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect?

John Hammond: [laughing] I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! You’re meant to come down here and defend me against these characters, and the only one I’ve got on my side is the blood-sucking lawyer!

Donald Gennaro: Thank you.

After lunch and debate they all go out to check out the park. On the way they are joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim. The groups go out in two different cars and view two no shows and a sick triceratops. Now I know how this feels. While visiting my sister in San Diego we went to the wildlife preserve, and since it is a natural habitat those animals can hide super well. In fact the whole day there I kept think that this is like Jurassic Park.

One of the best scenes is this one.

Ellie leaves with the Vet so the cars now have Lex, Tim, & Gennaro the lawyer in one, and Malcolm and Alan in the other.

Back at the compound, a huge storm is headed for the island amd all the ferries are leaving early. This disrupts Nedry’s plan as the time is shortened for his plan, but he decides to go for it, shutting down all different parts of the system, electric fences, and the motorized cars the group are in.

Nedry’s plan doesn’t work as the rain causes him to be confused and he loses his glasses, the embryos, and his life. Don’t make fun of a dino.

One area that is shut down is the T-Rex’s fence, where all the cars are in front of.

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Tim gets stuck in the car and thrown off the side into a tree. Dr. Grant and Lex scale down the wall to get away and help him. Ellie and Muldoon, the keeper, come looking for everyone, but find Malcolm. They pick him up and have to leave as they are chased away by a T-Rex.

Dr. Ian Malcolm: [as they escape the T-Rex chasing after them in the Jeep] You think they’ll have that on the tour?

Dr. Grant goes up in the tree to get Tim, but as they are climbing down they have to hurry even faster as the car falls down as well. The end up having the car fall on them and being trapped again. They find shelter and rest.

Back at the compund, they can’t get around the stuff Nedry set up and decide to do a complete shut down and then restart the system. However, the system doesn’t restart. NOw everything is shut down.

The next day Dr. Grant and the kids roam through the park. They discover that the dinosaurs are having children, they cannot be controlled. They had used frog DNA to make the dinos complete, but some frogs change sex multiple times before they decide on one.

Dr. Alan Grant: [finding egg shells] Oh my God. Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding. Tim: But Grandpa said all the dinosaurs were girls. Dr. Alan Grant: Amphibian DNA. Lex: What's that? Dr. Alan Grant: Well, on the tour, the film said they used frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps. They mutated the dinosaur genetic code and blended it with that of a frog's. Now, some West African frogs have been known to spontaneously change sex from male to female in a single sex environment. Malcolm was right. Look... [we see a trail of baby dinosaur footprints] Dr. Alan Grant: Life found a way.

Dr. Alan Grant: [finding egg shells] Oh my God. Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding.
Tim: But Grandpa said all the dinosaurs were girls.
Dr. Alan Grant: Amphibian DNA.
Lex: What’s that?
Dr. Alan Grant: Well, on the tour, the film said they used frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps. They mutated the dinosaur genetic code and blended it with that of a frog’s. Now, some West African frogs have been known to spontaneously change sex from male to female in a single sex environment. Malcolm was right. Look…life found a way.

As they continue through the park the discover that the animals are all loose and running free in a more natural way. They are also hunting each other.

Back at the compound; Malcolm, Ellie, Hammond, & Muldoon wait for one of the employees, Ray Arnold, who was sent out to the electrical building to restart it manually. Ellie can’t wait any longer, so she and Muldoon run to the area but get hunted by Velociraptors. Muldooon doesn’t make it. While Ellie begins the restart at the same time Tim, Lex, & Dr. Grant are climbing over an electric fence. I love this scene as it is so intense.

Poor Tim. He makes it out okay, but he has had the worst of it out of everybody. First his idol (Dr. Grant) doesn’t want to talk to him, his car gets attacked by a T-Rex, he gets stuck in a car and thrown into a tree, he throws up on himself, he gets out of the tree but the car falls on him, he almost gets run over by a stampede of dinos, gets electrocuted, and the trips not over.

Ellie gets attacked by Velociraptors, but manages to get away from them.

Now I took a class on Dinosaurs and the way they are portrayed on the screen is not how they believe they looked in real life, they think they had feathers and were colorful.

Anyways, Dr. Grant leaves the kids in the compund so they can eat, while he goes looking for Ellie. They are reunited and head back to the compound.

In the compound Lex and Tim are in one of the scrariest scenes ever!!!

They manage to get back with Dr. Grant & Ellie and they all head over to the computer system so Ellie can restart it. However, the raptors attack and she has to help Dr. Grant with the doors as they are are electrical. While they do that Lex reboots the system. They call Hammond and make him call a helicopter. A raptor starts attacking them and they have to crawl into the air vents to get out. They end up having to battle them later.

T-Rex = Awesome

Raptor = Awesome

T-Rex and Raptor fight  = Super Awesome

They all end up getting away. Hammond having realized that his idea is not thought through all the way, Malcolm with his broken leg, Dr. Grant and Ellie closer than ever, and Dr. Grant having formed a great relationship with the kids and realizing kids would be great to have one day.

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Now even though the movie has a LOT of differences from the book but it is so amzing of a story.

Now even though this movie, Frankenstein, and The Bride of Frankenstein show you that one shouldn’t try to take life into their own hands, still scientists just won’t listen.

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Here’s a cover photo/poster I made as part of my countdown to Halloween this year.

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Found this pic online and had to include it.

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A Squashed Mess: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)

Last year, more people were killed by automobile accidents, heart attacks, lung cancer, and natural causes combined than by any one tomato

This was one of the stupidest films I have ever seen! I rented it because I thought that it had the potential to be creepy, but it just turned out to be a major dud. Don’t waste your time watching it. The acting was horrible, the storyline completely idiotic, and  nothing made any sense at all. It has to be one of the worst films of all time.

I mean this film could have been great, but the writers really dropped the ball on this one.

Sorry to throw this rotten mess toward you. More posts coming your way.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to A Monster Race

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To read me make fun of more horrible films, go to Sucky Sequels